This past April my mother made the decision to get bees. As some of you may know there is a serious problem in the world of bees rapidly disappearing. This is a huge problem because bees are the engine that drive the planet. They are the tiny machines that pollinate major crops and the world’s plants. Without them we couldn’t exist. Not only that though but they create honey, which let’s face it, is liquid gold.
When you choose to become a beekeeper it is highly recommended that you take a course. My mom did and it really paid off. This past April we went out to her place in Spokane, WA to help set up the first hive and to help her get ready for the bees.
Eventually the bees arrived in a box. It’s incredible, bees smell delicious, like warm bread and flowers. They are also quite toasty, a box of bees has the same heat as a sleepy puppy. When they arrive you take the tiny container with the queen in it and place her in the new hive with a marshmallow as a cork in her box. Then you pour the other bees into the hive. They will detect the queen and chew the marshmallow to get her out.
Over the next few months they will explore outwards from the hive within a five mile radius. As they do they will collect flower pollen and return to the hive with it where they will mix it with water and create honey.
Our bees have been doing this since April and it was finally time to harvest the honey.
Honey harvest is traditionally done in August (late summer) when the bees are at the peak of honey production. Honey is the food bees make to survive the winter, so it is important not to take too much. You need to let the bees fill the main hive before you add smaller boxes to the top of the hive. These smaller boxes are known as honey supers and they contain the honey that you can harvest at the end of summer. By early September the bees will wrap up their quest to gather pollen and start to settle in for the long winter.
A strong hive of 50,000 bees can produce around 10 to 15 lbs of honey in a year, sometimes more. The honey is an excellent way to maintain your health and to also relive allergies. It’s best to eat honey from the region you live in to get the best allergy relief.
Tawny and I rode over to Spokane to get the prep work done and make way for all the honey!
Once we opened the hive we removed the frames and placed them inside a large plastic bin. This is important because otherwise the bees will chase you and try to take their honey back. Check out the video to get a firsthand look at what a honey harvest looks like.
It took us just over five hours to harvest one hive and we ended up with 12.5 lbs of honey (or just shy of 3 gallons.) The flavor profile is unlike any honey I’ve ever experienced before. Technically I believe it is called “fire-weed” honey which seems to be the general term for wildflower honey.
We’re already making plans to increase the hive count by three for next year. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.
We would love to hear from you! Do you have any experience with bees? Maybe you just love honey, let us know in the comments below!